QUOTEoftheDay

Friday
Jan062012

Charles Baudelaire

You gave me your mud and I have turned it to gold.

We have psychologized like the insane, who aggravate their madness in struggling to understand it.1855

There is in a word, in a verb, something sacred which forbids us from using it recklessly. To handle a language cunningly is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery.

An artist is only an artist thanks to his exquisite sense of beauty — a sense which provides him with intoxicating delights, but at the same time implying and including a sense, equally exquisite, of all deformity and disproportion.

It is at once by way of poetry and through poetry, as with music, that the soul glimpses splendors from beyond the tomb.

As a small child, I felt in my heart two contradictory feelings, the horror of life and the ecstasy of life.

Beauty is the sole ambition, the exclusive goal of Taste.

Common sense tells us that the things of the earth exist only a little, and that true reality is only in dreams

The observer is a prince who enjoys his incognito everywhere. The lover of life makes the world his family, just as the lover of the fair sex devises his family from all discovered, discoverable and undiscoverable beauties; as the lover of pictures lives in an enchanted society of painted dreams on canvas.

Thursday
Jan052012

Philip Roth

The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.

A Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy, and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy till they die.

Old age isn't a battle; old age is a massacre.

Obviously the facts are never just coming at you but are incorporated by an imagination that is formed by your previous experience. Memories of the past are not memories of facts but memories of your imaginings of the facts.

I write fiction and I’m told it’s autobiography, I write autobiography and I’m told it’s fiction, so since I’m so dim and they’re so smart, let them decide what it is or it isn’t.

I cannot and do not live in the world of discretion, not as a writer, anyway. I would prefer to, I assure you — it would make life easier. But discretion is, unfortunately, not for novelists.

England’s made a Jew of me in only eight weeks, which, on reflection, might be the least painful method. A Jew without Jews, without Judaism, without Zionism, without Jewishness, without a temple or an army or even a pistol, a Jew clearly without a home, just the object itself, like a glass or an apple.

 

Wednesday
Jan042012

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Life is water, dancing to the tune of macromolecules.

A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind.

A living cell requires energy not only for all its functions, but also for the maintenance of its structure.

A vitamin is a substance that makes you ill if you don't eat it.

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen, and thinking what nobody has thought.

Research is four things: brains with which to think, eyes with which to see, machines with which to measure and, fourth, money.

The foodstuff, carbohydrate, is essentially a packet of hydrogen, a hydrogen supplier, a hydrogen donor, and the main event during its combustion is the splitting off of hydrogen.

When I received the Nobel Prize, the only big lump sum of money I have ever seen, I had to do something with it. The easiest way to drop this hot potato was to invest it, to buy shares. I knew that World War II was coming and I was afraid that if I had shares which rise in case of war, I would wish for war. So I asked my agent to buy shares which go down in the event of war. This he did. I lost my money and saved my soul.

Tuesday
Jan032012

Alan Turing

A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human.

Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity.

A man provided with paper, pencil, and rubber, and subject to strict discipline, is in effect a universal machine.

Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition.

We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.

I am not very impressed with theological arguments whatever they may be used to support. Such arguments have often been found unsatisfactory in the past.

I believe that at the end of the century [20th] the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.

We are not interested in the fact that the brain has the consistency of cold porridge.

 


Monday
Jan022012

Murray Gell-Mann

While many questions about quantum mechanics are still not fully resolved, there is no point in introducing needless mystification where in fact no problem exists.

If I have seen further than others, it is because I am surrounded by dwarfs.

As a theoretical physicist, I feel at once proud and humble at the thought of the illustrious figures that have preceded me here to receive the greatest of all honors in science, the Nobel prize.

But when researchers at Bell Labs discovered that static tends to come from particular places in the sky, the whole field of radio astronomy opened up.

Enthusiasm is followed by disappointment and even depression, and then by renewed enthusiasm.

For me, the study of these laws is inseparable from a love of Nature in all its manifestations.

I am frequently astonished that it so often results in correct predictions of experimental results.

If we look at the way the universe behaves, quantum mechanics gives us fundamental, unavoidable indeterminacy, so that alternative histories of the universe can be assigned probability.

In fact any experiment that measures a quantum effect is one in which the quantum effect is aligned with the behavior of some heavy, macroscopic object; that's how we measure it.

 

Sunday
Jan012012

Henry James

Live all you can—it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that, what have you had?

Life is a predicament which precedes death.

It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.

To take what there is, and use it, without waiting forever in vain for the preconceived — to dig deep into the actual and get something out of that — this doubtless is the right way to live.

The superiority of one man's opinion over another's is never so great as when the opinion is about a woman.

It's a complex fate, being an American, and one of the responsibilities it entails is fighting against a superstitious valuation of Europe.

There are two kinds of taste in the appreciation of imaginative literature: the taste for emotions of surprise and the taste for emotions of recognition.

Do not mind anything that anyone tells you about anyone else. Judge everyone and everything for yourself.

Saturday
Dec312011

Annie Leibovitz

I am impressed with what happens when someone stays in the same place and you took the same picture over and over and it would be different, every single frame.

I didn't want to let women down. One of the stereotypes I see breaking is the idea of aging and older women not being beautiful.

A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.

A very subtle difference can make the picture or not.

At my Rolling Stones' tour, the camera was a protection. I used it in a Zen way.

If I didn't have my camera to remind me constantly, I am here to do this, I would eventually have slipped away, I think. I would have forgotten my reason to exist.

If it makes you cry, it goes in the show.

In a portrait, you have room to have a point of view. The image may not be literally what's going on, but it's representative.
What I end up shooting is the situation. I shoot the composition and my subject is going to help the composition or not.

What I learned from Lennon was something that did stay with me my whole career, which is to be very straightforward. I actually love talking about taking pictures, and I think that helps everyone.

When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I'd like to know them. Anyone I know I photograph.

When I started working for Rolling Stone, I became very interested in journalism and thought maybe that's what I was doing, but it wasn't.

 

Friday
Dec302011

Margaret Mead

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.

No society has ever yet been able to handle the temptations of technology to mastery, to waste, to exuberance, to exploration and exploitation. We have to learn to cherish this earth and cherish it as something that's fragile, that's only one, it's all we have. We have to use our scientific knowledge to correct the dangers that have come from science and technology.

The first step in the direction of a world rule of law is the recognition that peace no longer is an unobtainable ideal but a necessary condition of continued human existence. But to take even this step we must return to a calm and responsible frame of mind in which we can face the long patient tasks ahead.

Human nature is potentially aggressive and destructive and potentially orderly and constructive.

I have a respect for manners as such, they are a way of dealing with people you don't agree with or like.

I learned the value of hard work by working hard.

I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.

I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world.

If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.

Thursday
Dec292011

John Dos Passos

A satirist is a man whose flesh creeps so at the ugly and the savage and the incongruous aspects of society that he has to express them as brutally and nakedly as possible to get relief.

If there is a special Hell for writers it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works, with all the misconceptions, the omissions, the failures that any finished work of art implies.

One of the most extraordinary things about industrial society of the present day is its idiot lack of memory. Tabloids and movies take the place of mental processes and revolts, crimes, despairs pass off in a dribble of vague words and rubber stamp phrases without leaving a scratch on the mind of the driven instalment-paying, subway-packing mass.

The mind of a generation is its speech. A writer makes aspects of that speech enduring by putting them in print. He whittles at the words and phrases of today and makes of them forms to set the mind of tomorrow's generation. That's history. A writer who writes straight is the architect of history.

Breaking with old friends is one of the most painful of the changes in all that piling up of a multitude of small distasteful changes that constitutes growing older.

Display advertising and the movies, though they may dull the wits, certainly stimulate the eyes.

If I were sufficiently romantic I suppose I'd have killed myself long ago just to make people talk about me. I haven't even got the conviction to make a successful drunkard.

 

 

Wednesday
Dec282011

G. H. Hardy

A mathematician, like a painter or poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas.

Reductio ad absurdum, which Euclid loved so much, is one of a mathematician's finest weapons. It is a far finer gambit than any chess play: a chess player may offer the sacrifice of a pawn or even a piece, but a mathematician offers the game.

He [Ramanujan] could remember the idiosyncrasies of numbers in an almost uncanny way. It was Littlewood who said that every positive integer was one of Ramanujan's personal friends. I remember once going to see him when he was ill at Putney. I had ridden in taxi cab number 1729 and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen. "No," he replied, "it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways."

I still say to myself when I am depressed and and find myself forced to listen to pompous and tiresome people "Well, I have done one thing you could never have done, and that is to have collaborated with Littlewood and Ramanujan on something like equal terms."

I am obliged to interpolate some remarks on a very difficult subject: proof and its importance in mathematics. All physicists, and a good many quite respectable mathematicians, are contemptuous about proof. I have heard Professor Eddington, for example, maintain that proof, as pure mathematicians understand it, is really quite uninteresting and unimportant, and that no one who is really certain that he has found something good should waste his time looking for proof.